Canadian defender Karl Ouimette was released by the New York Red Bulls at the end of the 2016 season. It was a turbulent year for the 24-year-old. He briefly won a starting role in RBNY's first team after injury created opportunity for some of the squad's young players. After the Red Bulls decided to look elsewhere to shore up their back line, he was loaned down to the club's USL squad, where he suffered a kick to the back that carried his name all over the world. Once the effects of that experience had worn off, he was loaned out of RBNY altogether: sent to Jacksonville Armada, where he had a short-lived stint as a starter before struggling to get any minutes at all once the coach who had signed off on his loan - Tony Meola - was dismissed.
Currently, Ouimette is training with the Canada Men's National Team, hoping to be selected to the squad to play Bermuda on January 22.
While he works out, his agent has been busy, securing his client a pro gig for the season ahead. Ouimette will join San Francisco Deltas for their inaugural season in NASL.
He is linking up with one of the more admired coaches in North American soccer. Deltas head coach Marc Dos Santos took Ottawa Fury to the NASL SoccerBowl in 2015, and then took Swope Park Rangers to the USL Championship game in 2016. Both finals were lost, but back-to-back title challenges with different teams in different leagues is a rare and impressive achievement.
Dos Santos is presumably not unfamiliar with Ouimette. The Quebecois coach started his career at Trois-Rivieres Attak before moving on to Montreal Impact. Ouimette followed the same path at roughly the same sort of time, turning pro with L'Impact the season after Dos Santos left the club.
This is the second time since leaving Montreal that Ouimette has been scooped up by a former Impact coach. Jesse Marsch was head coach of the Canadian MLS club in 2012, the year Ouimette turned pro. Now the defender will play for Marsch's Montreal predecessor.